Dutch cyclist Mathieu van der Poel has had his conviction for assaulting two teenage girls in Australia overturned.
The 27-year-old rider pleaded guilty in September to two counts of common assault after a confrontation with the girls, aged 13 and 14.
The incident took place at Van der Poel’s hotel in Sydney the night before the World Championship road race.
Van der Poel, who was also fined A$1,500 (£909), successfully appealed against the conviction and fine.
Judge Ian Bourke SC, speaking after a hearing at Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court, said Van der Poel’s actions had been in “response to annoying and invasive conduct” by the girls and deemed their actions to be a “significant degree of provocation”, Australian media reported.
Speaking to NCA NewsWire, Van der Poel’s lawyer Michael Bowe said he was satisfied with the outcome.
“He didn’t need a conviction; he’s a dedicated sportsman and cyclist,” Bowe said. “It’s really important these matters were dismissed.”
Van der Poel, who rides for Alpecin-Deceuninck, alleged the girls “continuously” knocked on his hotel room door on the evening of 24 September.
“After a few times I was done with it,” he told Belgian website Sporza at the time. “I didn’t ask so nicely to stop. Then the police were called and I was taken.”
A Tour de France and Giro d’Italia stage winner, two-time Tour of Flanders champion and Amstel Gold winner, Van der Poel was among the favourites to win the World Championship race in Wollongong, but dropped out only 30km into the 270km route.
The race was won by Belgium’s Remco Evenepoel.